I don’t like being asked how I’m doing by strangers.

How’re you? the kid asks, sliding his purchases across the counter towards me. I can feel my lips thinning in annoyance, but I let it go. It’s a college kid, being polite, although the disinterest is written all over his face.

Fine, I say. How’re you?

Neither of us cares. I doubt that either one of us is honest, either, and that’s the thing about this particular social nicety that makes me crazy- it forces you to lie, several times a day, to friends and strangers alike. I hate it. But this is the South, so what can you do? So I’m forced, more times than I can count today, to lie to someone.

Fine. I’m fine.

What does that even mean? I give up on it, after a while, and start saying: Eh, well, you know… to people I know. I find it confuses them, and that amuses me. They weren’t looking for a real answer. They were looking for an Okay or a Good! or a Great! or, at the lowest point of social acceptance-

Fine. I’m just fine.

I’m not. I am not fine, but who wants to hear that, going about their day, making the smallest of talk with everyone they meet?  No one wants to hear the truth, but the truth is this:

I’m not doing great. But I’m trying really hard at doing better. I had a very hard time getting out of bed this morning, but once I did my morning was good- I drank my coffee, listened to some TED talks, and went to work. Work wasn’t as bad as Saturday, when I couldn’t seem to stop from crying every five seconds, so I feel a little better about things. Of course, later on when I get home I decide to clean out my fridge and break down a little over a half a loaf of french bread, left over from the last time S and I had ‘french dinner’ (A wedge of brie, melted in the oven and eaten with warm french bread and apple slices. It’s heaven). I had a wild moment of over emotional panic- I wanted to take everything in the fridge and throw it out- all of it, every. single. bit.

But I didn’t.

I just threw away the things that were old, the things that were stale. I cuddled up on the couch with Clover the wonder dog and opened my computer and began to write. No one here to ask me how I am, and that’s okay.

Because I’m fine, right?